Driving school

The entrepreneur behind Portsmouth’s fastest growing driving school, 1Drive, is committed to changing industry stereotypes and ‘being the next generation driving school’

Deucalion McGregor-Sims, 29, from Fratton, runs Portsmouth-based driving school 1Drive.

He said that when he was learning to drive, like many others, he went through various instructors before finding one he was comfortable enough with.

After realizing that he wasn’t the only one and that it was normal, he was also shocked to discover that many driving instructors take the job as one of the last steps before the retirement, rather than a passion for teaching.

Deucalion McGregor-Sims, of 1Drive driving school. Photo: Mike Cooter

He said: “When I was 17 I remember taking note of that and thinking to myself that I really felt like I could do a decent job and change that stereotype.

“Whatever job I’ve been in, the part I’ve enjoyed the most is training and teaching others. For me, this was one of the industries that really needed good teachers .

Wanting to make a difference, Deucalion began training as a driving instructor at age 21 and qualified at 22, becoming one of the youngest driving instructors in the country and the youngest in the south.

Having made a name for himself in the industry as a “young instructor”, Deucalion found he didn’t need to advertise too much for recruitment, as the school grew on its own. same.

1Drive driving school. Photo: Mike Cooter

He said: “I tried to be nice to my students and that did the job on its own. It took off quickly and a few years ago I decided to introduce new instructors to the industry.

Five years ago, 1Drive was born and today has 11 instructors in its team. They have taught hundreds of learners in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and plan to expand the school across the region.

Deucalion said: “Everyone remembers their driving instructor, and it’s up to us as instructors whether people remember us for the right or the wrong reasons. I’m particular who we work with and each of the team members joined because they share the same philosophy.

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Deucalion McGregor-Sims, of 1Drive driving school. Photo: Mike Cooter

Also wanting to build “a diversity team,” Deucalion has made the effort to hire people who are new to the industry and “break the stereotype” of typical driving instructors.

He said: ‘We have instructors in their 20s and early 30s we have female instructors, before Covid we were also supposed to have a few Europeans in our team, and since Covid we have hired people who have been laid off during the pandemic.

Proof of its success is that one of the team members is a former 1Drive learner, which Deucalion says shows how treating learners with respect is the most effective way to teach anything.

He said: “I’ve never done anything that I consider revolutionary. The first thing I do is I don’t see my students as my students, I treat them just like I would treat any human being, with decency and kindness. If you do this, I promise you that your students will like you, respect you, and stay loyal to you.

“Some of my best friends are people I met through this work, when I first met them I just treated them with compassion and kindness and patience.” I’m just really interested in people and meeting people.

Deucalion said if anyone doubts the quality of 1Drive’s teaching or is skeptical because of its young staff, they can check out the reviews on Yelp, Google, and their social media pages.

He is determined to stand out from other driving schools in the area and change the way driving instructors are perceived.

He said, “We want to keep bringing in new instructors, changing the way people learn to drive, and changing the stereotypes people have about the industry.”

‘Since I created 1Drive, I always wanted to be a driving school that did things differently, in the way we teach, in our values. We are different, you won’t find another driving school near us in terms of the number of instructors between the ages of 20 and 30 who uphold the principles and ethics we advocate.

Deucalion said he is also looking to hire more instructors and is especially keen to hear from people who speak another language.

Story of Sophie Murray

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